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SOC1023G Social Problems: Unit 1 Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist

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  1. SOC1023G Social Problems:Unit 1Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  2. Unit 1: Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist References Denisoff, R. S., Callahan, O., & Levine, M. H. (1974). Theories and paradigms in contemporary sociology. Itasca, IL: F. E. Peacock Publishers. De Santo, C. P. (1985). The sociology of social problems. In C. P. De Santo and M. M. Poloma (Eds.), Social problems: Christian Perspectives (pp. 2-17). Winston-Salem, NC: Hunter Textbooks. Hess, B. B., Markson, E. W., & Stein, P. J. (1993). Sociology (4th ed.). New York: Macmillian Publishing. Kuhn, T. S. (1970). The structure of scientific revolutions (2nd ed.). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Mills, C. W. (1959). The sociological imagination. New York: Oxford University Press. Mooney, L. A., Knox, D., & Schacht, C. (2000). Understanding social problems (2nd ed.). Cincinnati, OH: Wadsworth. © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  3. Devotions The poor you will always have with you . . . Matthew 26:11a (NIV) © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  4. Devotions Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people . . . . Galatians 6:9-10a (NIV) © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  5. Unit 1: Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist Note This is the most difficult lecture in this course. Many new concepts are introduced. These concepts will become more familiar as you progress through the course. © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  6. Unit 1: Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist What is a social problem? • Primary elements of social problems • Objective element • We become aware of a social condition through our senses • See the homeless • Hear the gunfire in the streets • See battered women in hospital emergency rooms • Hear unemployment statistics © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  7. Unit 1: Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist • Subjective element • Belief that a particular social condition is harmful to society and that it needs to be changed • Crime • Drug addiction • Poverty • Racism • Violence © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  8. Unit 1: Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist By combining these objective and subjective elements, we arrive at the following definition: A SOCIAL PROBLEM is a social condition that a segment of society views as harmful to members of society and in need of remedy (Mooney, Knox, & Schacht, 2000 p. 3). © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  9. Unit 1: Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist The Sociological Imagination(Mills, 1959 pp. 8-11) • C. W. Mills developed a way of looking at social problems • Personal troubles versus public issues • Personal troubles • Private matters, limited to aspects of daily life of which a person is directly--often painfully--aware • Public issues • Arise from factors outside of one’s personal control, but that ultimately affect daily life, such as business cycles or wars (Hess, Markson, & Stein, 1993 p. 5) © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  10. Unit 1: Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist • Example: Divorce • If you are involved in a divorce, that is a personal trouble • If more than 25% of all marriages end in divorce, that is a public issue = social problem © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  11. Unit 1: Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist As sociologists, we are to carefully define what is and is not a social problem. A social condition may not be a social problem in one era and then become one during another era. © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  12. Unit 1: Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist • Example: High School Dropouts • Until the end of the 1950’s, this was not a social problem • There were ample, well-paid employment opportunities for the less educated • Usually these opportunities required strenuous labor and/or boring repetitive motions • Currently, there is a lack of employment opportunities that are both well-paid and require less than a high school education © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  13. Unit 1: Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist Our current standard of living, which most of us would not want to give up, requires a more educated work force. But what are we going to do with a current high school population that has a 25% dropout rate? © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  14. Unit 1: Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist In my opinion, we are headed for a future two class society--not divided by race or family background--but divided by the educated versus the undereducated. Sadly, this social condition will be the result of choices freely made by the majority of the future undereducated population. © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  15. Unit 1: Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist Elements of Social Structure and Culture • Elements of social structure--refers to the way society is organized • Institutions • Is an established enduring pattern of social relationships • Family, religion, politics, economics, and education © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  16. Unit 1: Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist • Social groups • Is defined as two or more people who have a common identity, interact, and form a social relationship. • Primary • Intimate and informal interactions • Secondary • Task-oriented and characterized by impersonal and formal interactions © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  17. Unit 1: Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist • Statuses • Is a position a person occupies within a social group and thus within the structure of society • Ascribed status • Is one that society assigns, over which an individual has no control (sex, race, etc.) • Achieved status • Is assigned on the basis of some characteristic or behavior over which the individual has some control (parent, college graduate, etc.) © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  18. Unit 1: Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist • Roles • The set of rights, obligations, and expectations associated with a status • Roles guide behavior and help predict the behavior of others © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  19. Unit 1: Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist • Elements of culture--refers to the meanings and ways of life that characterize a society • Beliefs • Refer to definitions and explanations about what is assumed to be true • Secondhand smoke harms nonsmokers © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  20. Unit 1: Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist • Values • Social agreements about what is considered good and bad, right and wrong, desirable and undesirable • Crime violates the values of honesty, private property, and non-violence © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  21. Unit 1: Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist • Norms and sanctions • Norms are socially defined rules of behavior • Folkways • Laws • Mores • Sanctions are social consequences for conforming to or violating norms • Positive sanctions • Negative sanctions • Informal sanctions • Formal sanctions © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  22. Unit 1: Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist • Symbols • Is something that represents something else • Without symbols, we could not communicate with each other or live as social beings • Examples • Language • Gestures • Objects that carry meaning understood by the members of a society © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  23. Unit 1: Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist In this course you need to learn how to look at the world as a sociologist. © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  24. Unit 1: Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist • Sociology (De Santo, 1985 p. 2) • As a science seeks to understand the forces operating in society • Forces that hold it together • Forces that tear it apart © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  25. Unit 1: Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist • Paradigm (Denisoff, Callahan, & Levine 1974 p. 1-3) • Model or pattern of thinking • Taken-for-granted ideas and assumptions not debated by members of a scientific discipline • Once a paradigm is established, scholars engage in what Kuhn (1970) calls “mopping up operations” • the stress of one group of events and facts over another • The attempt to demonstrate agreement between the paradigm and reality • The further refinement of the paradigm © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  26. Unit 1: Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist Sociology , as a science, has not developed a singular dominant paradigm. It currently accepts three major paradigms. At this time a fourth one is being considered. We will not study the fourth paradigm in this course. © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  27. Unit 1: Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist Some sociological textbooks use the term theoretical perspectives in place of paradigms. In sociological theory, perspectives are a sub-category of paradigms. For general discussion in this course, the two terms will be used interchangeably. © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  28. Unit 1: Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist Review the Paradigm . . . Comparison Table (this was a reading requirement for Unit 1) © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  29. Unit 1: Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist • The Table lists three Paradigms • Order • Pluralist • Conflict © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  30. Unit 1: Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist • One Perspective (the term used in our readings for Unit 1) is listed under each Paradigm • Structural-Functionalism • Listed under the Order Paradigm • Symbolic-Interaction • Listed under the Pluralist Paradigm • Conflict • Listed under the Conflict Paradigm © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  31. Unit 1: Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist To understand the “view” or “philosophy” of each paradigm/perspective, carefully read, study, and reflect on the comparison portion of the Table. As an example, let us review how each paradigm/perspective views “Society.” © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  32. Unit 1: Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist Order/Structural-Functionalism Views society as a vast organism whose parts are interrelated; social problems are disruptions of this system. Also holds that problems of social institutions produce patterns of deviance or that institutions must address such patterns through strategic social change. © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  33. Unit 1: Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist Pluralist/Symbolic-Interaction Holds that definitions of deviance or social problems are subjective; separates deviant and nondeviant people not by what they do but by how society reacts to what they do. © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  34. Unit 1: Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist Conflict/Conflict Views society as marked by conflicts due to inequalities of class, race, ethnicity, gender, age, and other divisions that produce conflicting values. Defines social problems as conditions that do not conform to society's values. © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  35. Unit 1: Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist I ‘m lost! What is a paradigm/perspective? What does it have to do with Social Problems? © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  36. Unit 1: Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist Review the story about the Saints and Rebels gangs at Anderson High School (this was a reading requirement for this class session) © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  37. Unit 1: Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist I ‘m STILL lost! Should I drop out of Social Problems? © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  38. Unit 1: Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist Of course not! It takes time to learn how to think like a sociologist. © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender

  39. Unit 1: Thinking about Social Problems as a Sociologist This Social Problems course will give you theOPPORTUNITY to spend time learning how to think like a sociologist. © 1998-2002 by Ronald Keith Bolender